Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones…

… But the power of life and death is in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21).

Not quite the rhyme you remember hearing in school. The truth is, words are not simply random combinations of syllables and sounds. Words have power. The Bible says that “the words of the reckless pierce like swords” (Proverbs 12:18). The analogy is unmistakable; words can cut deep.

I’m sure we are all able to relate to this truth. An angry word from a trusted friend, a hurtful comment from the one we love. The expression ‘stabbed in the back’ didn’t come out of nowhere; words hurt. Sometimes, words can be so painful that we’d rather be injured physically than damaged emotionally. Often, our bodies heal more quickly than our hearts do.

Unfortunately, we’re all guilty of this offense. Each of us has spoken in the heat of the moment, against our better judgment; our words leaving a trail of destruction in their path. It can take years to repair what a few seconds of cruel words can tear down. Negative, critical words can have disastrous, long-term effects. The child who grows up hearing they are worthless, stupid, ugly and good for nothing will likely have considerably lower self-esteem than the child who has been told they are precious, wonderful, beautiful and significant. What would you rather hear? Whether we are aware of it or not, we are deeply affected emotionally by the words we encounter in our daily lives.

We have all come into contact with people who exude negativity.  They are always complaining about something, speaking ill about someone or making constant negative remarks. These kinds of people are  exhausting to be around; they seem to suck the life right out of you. On the other hand, it is remarkably refreshing to be in the company of somebody who is full of gratitude, and edifying words. The Bible tells us that “the words of a good person give life, like a fountain of water and the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 10:11, 12:18). An encouraging word has the power to restore hope; an expression of love can heal deep wounds.

We have been given a great gift in the power our words possess, but as with many gifts comes a great responsibility. “He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin” – Proverbs 13:3. The next time you are tempted to lash out in anger, take a moment to consider the significance of what you are about to say. The power of life and death may be on the tip of your tongue.

124 thoughts on “Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones…

  1. oh the power of words…I agree with a lot of what you wrote in this blog. I think sometimes in the heat of the moment we forget how mean and hurtful our words can be. Thanks for reminding me to pause, reflect, and think before speaking! love you Nat.

    • Thanks Gail, same here! We really have to be careful of the choices we make with respect to our actions and our words because they can have long-term consequences. xo

  2. This is sooooooo true!!! The tongue is a muscle that can’t be still. My pastor use to tell us to go infront of a mirrow and stick our tongue and you will see how it moves, even though you aren’t moving it.

    Thanks for reminding me to think before I say something! ahahhahahah

    “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matt. 12:36-37).

    The Bible mentions many kinds of tongues:
    a flattering tongue (Psalm 5:9)
    a proud tongue (Psalm 12:3; 73:9)
    a lying tongue (Psalm 109:2; Prov. 6:17)
    a deceitful tongue (Psalm 120:2)
    a perverted tongue (Prov. 10:31; 17:20)
    a soothing tongue (Prov. 15:4)
    a healing tongue (Prov. 12:18)
    a destructive tongue (Prov. 17:4)
    a mischievous and wicked tongue (Psalm 10:7)
    a soft tongue (Prov. 25:15)
    a backbiting tongue (Prov. 25:23)

  3. Hey Patty. Thanks for the insightful comment! I really like the verse you mentioned in Matthew. Very powerful. And the references you listed were all extremely thought-provoking.

  4. This is everything Tasha! Words we use vs. the Word of God. Which shall we choose? Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” The power of the tongue is most powerful.

    Which is mightier, the pen or the sword? It’s the pen. Words! From the Word of God to the Apostles Creed, to the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms… Words can inspire and change a nation, as well as uplift personal relationships.

    Thanks for posting this one Tasha! XOXO

  5. “The power of life and death may be on the tip of your tongue.”
    We often forget how powerful our words and thoughts can be. Thank you for sharing.

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